The drywall is essentially complete!

A coworker taught me to use that adverb. It allows me to say something is done, but if it’s not done I’m not wrong. There are a few odd pieces left to finish, but nothing that involves much real work. Nothing in my house is standard though, so here’s a few things that happened that are worth talking about.

The skylight shaft. I wanted to line it with antique V groove paneling like period ones were, but I missed out on the free material because I’m slow. Drywall it is. And hey, this was easier to do.


The low head room basement stairwell: now the drywall is up between the stringers. The Irishman said, “Here, let me make all these while you’re still thinking about them.”


I couldn’t mark them as fast as he cuts. He didn’t even let the saw turn off in between. So these blocks went in under the stairs and let the drywall be up between the supports like so. No more stooping! Until I reach the bottom.


Then there’s the vestibule. I had this awkward gap between the door frame and the brick when the plaster came down, so to fill it I’m building the wall out and putting jamb extensions around the front door. But my walls are brick and my brick is crumbly, so there’s kinda nothing to nail anything to. You know how these things went before. I bring my dad in, we stare at it for an hour. I write a whole blog post trying to figure out what I’m doing. Then we come up with something that works and it takes a month to build. Not the Irishman. He built me these nailing flanges and framed the wall with my scrap wood and extra metal tracking lickety split!


One thing to note here: my vestibule plaster might have been restorable. About 3 square feet of the wall were coming loose and there was a big hole in the ceiling. I wanted to save it, but then I also wanted to do less work. In the end, burnout won. But I will be paneling the lower half of the wall that used to have the plastic tiles. Top half has 3/8″ drywall glued onto the original plaster, bottom half will have 3/8″ cabinet grade plywood.


And the Irishman offered to source cedar sheeting for the upstairs hall coat closet. It wasn’t available, so up went the drywall. And this plastic access panel for the plumbing. I’m glad it’s in a closet; if it had been in the hallway I would have insisted upon doing something harder.


And the linen closet, where the plaster was really falling apart worse than anywhere. Again the drywall is glued right over it. Having the plaster underneath makes the drywall feel more solid but even on walls where the plaster was in good shape, when I bang the walls you can hear pieces of it falling. Hmm… I guess that’s now part of the house’s charm.

So that’s where we are. Next post we’ll get to look forward.


6 thoughts on “The drywall is essentially complete!

  1. CindyH

    WHOOT! Looking great! Kudos to all your hard work and to the Irishman for moving this along – can’t wait to see what’s next.


  2. Mary Elizabeth

    Great news, kid. Sounds like “the Irishman” is a closer and helps you get through the finishing process. (He gets the coffee. “Coffee is for closers.” Remember “Glengarry, Glen Ross”?) I just now realized that the plastic tile you were talking about was actually near the front door and not in a kitchen or bath. What an odd choice! Paneling or wainscoting will go perfectly there.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      My house once had plastic tile in the vestibule, kitchen, and bathroom. The vestibule was pink and burgundy, the kitchen grey and black, and the bathroom pink and black. My mom was horrified with the plastic tile but her treasured stained glass transom (which I’ll be installing) ironically matched it. Having the tile on the vestibule walls isn’t ass odd as it seems. Many of the better houses in the area have ornate decorative ceramic tile or slabs of marble or soapstone partway up their vestibule walls, And look at this vestibule in Alexandria. It’s set up as a quasi-outdoor space with the lock installed on the interior side of it.

      I’ve never seen one done that way in Philadelphia but they do look like they were used as a wet/dirty space for boots and umbrellas. Mine had a vinyl tile floor under the cracked, poorly installed pink marble tiles, and under that red oak that matches the living room, and under that the original hear pine. I’ll be keeping the oak but if it doesn’t hold up I’ll pull it out and tile it later.


    2. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I don’t know the reference, but actually he quite literally gets the coffee. Every day we walk down to Dunkin Donuts where he is friends with half the staff and he buys himself an extra large hot milk with a little coffee mixed in, and me a large black, even though I think he’s bewildered that I could drink it that way.


  3. Rosietta

    Love the skylight. Maybe you could eventually add on old salvaged tin. It could reflect the light in patterns on the floor? Just a thought from my architectural mind.



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